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Micro Milling vs Fine Milling: How To Extremely Small Parts

If you need to manufacture tiny parts, such as phone chips and micro robots? What technologies would you consider? The answer is micro milling and fine milling, both of which are the most advanced methods for manufacturing the smallest, most complex, and high-precision parts. The purpose of these two technologies is to remove small impurities on the material surface and enhance surface smoothness.

This article will explain the two methods, compare the differences between micro milling and fine milling, and explore which method is more suitable for different industries, giving you a deeper understanding of this important manufacturing technology.

Definition of micro milling and fine milling

What is micro milling?

Micro milling is a machining method that uses a micro milling cutter to make a fine structure on the surface of the workpiece. This machining method can accurately remove the material on the part, so as to achieve high precision, small size of the high precision effect. It is commonly used for machining miniature parts and tiny thermal components.

Definition of micro milling and fine milling

Micro milling process

Micromilling is a precision cutting process used in metal machining . It uses tiny cutting tools and a high-speed rotating spindle to remove the surface layer of the material, allowing for finishing and shape machining . The following are the general steps of the micro milling process:

1.Design and preparation

Determine the desired part shape and size, and select the appropriate materials and cutting tools. Develop machining path and cutting parameters.

2.Clamping part

The part to be machined is fixed on the machine tool to ensure its stable and accurate position. Clamp or special device for clamping.

3.Tool selection

Select a suitable micro milling tool, whose diameter is usually small, for finishing. According to the part requirements, select the appropriate tool material, tool geometry and cutting edge.

4.Tool clamping

Install the selected micro milling tool on the spindle and ensure that it is properly clamped and rigidly connected. The lead and height of the tool should be adjusted according to the cutting task.

5.Cutting parameter setting

According to the material and geometry of the part, determine the appropriate cutting speed, feed speed and cutting depth. When selecting these parameters, the nature of the tool and the workpiece as well as the required machining accuracy should be considered.

6.Machining operation

According to the predetermined machining path, by controlling the movement of the spindle and the table, the cutting tool is in contact with the workpiece surface, and the cutting tool is rotated at the appropriate cutting speed. Precisely control the feed movement and cutting depth of the tool to achieve the desired machining effect.

7.Cooling lubrication

In the micro milling process, cutting fluid or coolant is used to reduce cutting temperature, flush chips, and provide lubrication and cooling effects to protect tools and parts, and improve machining quality.

8.Inspection and adjustment

Regular inspection of machining quality, including size, shape and surface roughness. Fine-tune and adjust as needed to ensure the required part requirements are met.

The micro milling process is similar to the traditional milling process in that it is carried out by rotating machining. However, due to the smaller size of the micro milling process, higher precision machining equipment is needed.

In the micro milling process, in order to ensure that the size, shape and surface quality of the microstructure reach a high level, tools made of various shapes and materials need to be used, and very precise control is carried out.

Micro milling process difficulty

1.Machining accuracy requirements are very high, usually at the sub-micron level.

2.Micro machining for small size parts requires fine adjustment and control.

3.With tiny tools, tool selection and management are key.

4.It is very sensitive to vibration and resonance and needs to control and reduce vibration.

What is Fine milling?

Fine milling is a process in which additional materials on the surface of the workpiece are removed layer by layer by machining equipment to form a flat or contoured shape. It maintains a high degree of accuracy and surface smoothness in part manufacturing and can be used to manufacture workpieces such as planes, slots, cams and shafts. The technology uses tiny, high-speed drill bits for metal machining .

What is Fine milling
Milling metalworking process. Industrial CNC machining of metal detail by cutting end-tooth vertical mill at factory. Coolant

Fine milling process

Compared with the traditional milling method, the fine milling requires smaller cutting amount and faster cutting speed to achieve the best machining effect. The following are typical steps for high fine milling:

1.Design CAD model

First, it is necessary to obtain the CAD model from the workpiece to be machined and import it into the machining control system of the CNC milling machine.

2.Software programming

After the design is completed, the model information needs to be input into the machine for machining , then software programming is required. The main purpose of programming is to convert the three-dimensional model into machine-readable instructions and determine the coordinates and motion trajectories of the workpiece.

3.Clamping and positioning

In the process of fine milling, the workpiece needs to be clamped and positioned to ensure that the workpiece does not shift during machining . There are many ways of clamping and positioning, such as mechanical clamping, magnetic adsorption, pneumatic positioning and so on. Different methods are suitable for different types of workpieces and machining methods.

4.Tool selection

Select high-precision tools suitable for fine milling, such as carbide tools or rigid tools. The geometry and cutting edge of the tool should be selected according to the requirements of the workpiece.

5.Cutting parameter setting

According to the workpiece material and geometry, determine the appropriate cutting speed, feed speed and cutting depth.

6.machining technology

Through precise control of the movement of the spindle and the table, the cutting tool is in close contact with the workpiece surface, and the cutting tool is rotated at the appropriate cutting speed to achieve the required cutting effect.

7.Cooling lubrication

In the fine milling process, cutting fluid or coolant is used to reduce the cutting temperature, flush chips, and provide lubrication and cooling effects to protect tools and workpieces, and improve machining quality.

8.Inspection and adjustment

Regular inspection of machining quality, including size, shape and surface roughness. Fine-tune and adjust as needed to ensure the desired workpiece requirements are met.

fine milling can be used to make a variety of parts, including flat, shaped, engine parts, electronic parts, and more. Because the milling cutter can move along three coordinate axes, very complex geometries can be made, such as curved, spherical, spiral, and so on.

fine milling process difficulty

1.Complex shape machining requirements are high, such as molds or complex contoured parts.

2.Precise control of cutting parameters and surface quality control

3.Need to select the appropriate tool and plan the tool path.

4.high degree of automation requires skills familiar with operating automated systems.

Comparison between micro milling and fine milling

Both of these processes, micro milling and fine milling, focus on achieving very high machining accuracy and flexibility. They can be used in the production and machining of a variety of complex shapes and high-precision products. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the two processes:

Compared to fine milling, the advantages of micro milling

Compared with fine milling, micro milling has the following advantages:

1.Machining accuracy

Higher machining accuracy can be achieved using micro milling. Micro milling uses small tools and high-speed rotating spindles to achieve sub-micron levels of accuracy, suitable for those parts with very demanding size and shape requirements.

2.Surface quality

Better surface quality can be achieved by micro milling. Because micro milling uses small cutting amount and high-speed rotation, the influence of cutting force on the workpiece surface can be reduced, so as to obtain a smoother and finer surface quality.

3.Machining of complex shapes

Micro milling can be used to process parts with complex shapes. Thanks to the high accuracy of micro milling, manufacturers can more easily handle minute details, complex contours, and small size holes to meet demanding part manufacturing needs.

4.Micro milling improves cutting efficiency

With small cutting amount and high-speed rotation, micro milling can complete machining tasks in a short time, reduce machining time and improve production efficiency.

5.Tool life

Micro milling uses small cutting forces and quantities, which can reduce tool wear and the impact of thermal expansion, thereby extending tool life and reducing the cost of tool replacement.

Compared to micro milling, the advantages of fine milling

Fine milling is suitable for workpieces requiring high precision, high surface quality and complex shape processing. Compared with micro milling, fine milling has the following advantages:

1.Machining accuracy

High machining accuracy can be achieved by using fine milling technology. Although micro milling can achieve very high accuracy, fine milling is still able to maintain high machining accuracy when manufacturing large workpieces, and is suitable for workpieces requiring high size and shape accuracy.

2.Machining efficiency

Fine milling usually has higher machining efficiency. Compared with micro milling, fine milling can apply greater cutting depth and cutting speed, so machining tasks can be completed in a short time, improving production efficiency.

3.Workpiece size and scope of use

fine milling can be used for processing large workpieces and various size ranges; Micro milling is mainly used for small workpieces and micro machining; fine milling, on the other hand, covers a wider range of workpiece sizes and machining .

4.Cutting force

Fine milling may produce a larger cutting force than micro milling. Because fine milling usually uses a larger tool and cutting amount, the cutting force is larger, so a stronger machine structure and clamping device are required to maintain stability.

5.cost

the equipment and tools required for fine milling tend to be relatively low. The equipment required for fine milling, such as machine tools and cutters, is often more readily available and cost effective than micro milling.

What is micro milling vs fine milling

Comparative advantage table

AdvantageFine MillingMicro Milling
Machining accuracyhighvery high
Surface qualitypreferablybetter
Cutting EfficiencyhighHigher
Workpiece size rangeSuitable for large-sized workpieces and high-speed cuttingSuitable for micro size and high-precision machining
machining speedfastRelatively slow
cutting stabilitySensitive to vibration and resonanceLess sensitive to vibration and resonance
Technological adaptabilitySuitable for various materialsSuitable for hard and brittle materials
Application industryGeneral machining , mold manufacturing, etcMicroelectronics, optics, precision instruments, etc
Comparative table of advantages of micro milling and fine milling

Comparison of prices between micro milling and fine milling

The price of micro milling and fine milling methods is a factor that many manufacturers consider. Below, we will compare the prices of micro milling and fine milling to help you make more informed decisions when choosing these two methods.

projectFine Milling(US $)Micro Milling(US $)
Small workpieces10 – 20050 – 300
Medium size workpieces200 – 500300 – 800
Complex workpieces500 – 2000800 – 3000
High precision workpieces overAbove 2000Above 3000

Actual prices can vary depending on a number of factors. Machining costs are affected by factors such as the complexity of the workpiece, size, material selection, machining time, tool consumption and auxiliary processes.

When determining machining cost, contact our engineers (E-Mail: info@longshengmfg.com) to provide detailed workpiece requirements and mass production requirements for an accurate quote and cost estimate.

Micro milling and fine milling, when to use?

Micro milling and fine milling are methods for different machining needs, and the following are their general application scenarios:

Micro milling

Small parts machining: Micro milling can be used to process small parts, especially when the part size is small, micro milling can provide higher precision and surface quality.

Fine structure machining: When fine structures, small holes or detailed parts need to be machined, micro milling can provide better control and accuracy to meet specific machining requirements.

Lightweight parts: Micromilling is generally used in lightweight designs to maintain the strength and stiffness of parts while material is removed.

Compared to other machining technologies, micromilling is slow, but it can produce very high-precision products. This technology can be used to make pinhead-sized parts, such as mobile phone accessories, miniature hydraulic valves and sensors.

Fine milling

Large parts machining : fine milling is generally used for processing large parts, with high cutting capacity and high machining efficiency, can handle large-size workpieces and large machining volume.

Machining complex geometry: fine milling can be used to process parts with complex geometry, such as curves, chamferes, planes and other shape combinations, which can provide higher flexibility and machining accuracy.

High surface quality requirements: When parts with high surface quality and finish are required, fine milling can provide better surface smoothness and fine machining quality.

Compared with micro milling, the speed of fine milling is faster, but the accuracy is slightly lower. This technology can often be used to manufacture medium-size parts that do not require high precision, such as automotive engine parts, aerospace parts, medical devices, and batteries.

Conclusion: How to choose

Choosing the right one of these two technologies is usually a decision based on the requirements and requirements of the artifact.

Micromilling is a type of smaller milling that is generally used for surface machining, trimming and simulation of workpieces, as well as for detail and small size machining. Compared with other machining methods, the cutting quality is higher, the error is smaller, and the surface quality is higher.

In jobs that require high-quality machining and high-precision machining, such as mold machining , mechanical parts machining , etc., micro milling is essential.

Fine milling can be used for the machining of some larger and more complex parts or workpieces. It can produce higher processing speed and greater material cutting depth, which greatly improves machining efficiency. In addition, it also has good machining stability and high speed cutting surface, making it can be used for some efficient and complex machining tasks.

The above is the advice of lifting arch, and sometimes the combination of micro milling and fine milling should be combined with the actual situation to achieve the best machining effect, if you still do not know how to choose the machining method for your project, you can contact our engineers (E-Mail: info@longshengmfg.com), in Longsheng technology, to provide you with professional and appropriate solutions

Applicable machining parts

Milling is suitable for machining various complex geometric shapes of parts. The following are some common part shapes that typically require milling for machining :

1.Flat parts: such as base, bottom plate, etc.

2.Curved parts: such as curves, spheres, arcs, etc.

3.Hole machining : such as circular holes, slot holes, complex non circular holes, etc.

4.Thread machining : such as threaded holes, threaded shafts, etc.

5.Complex structural parts such as gears, cams, molds, etc.

Applied Materials

Both micro milling and fine milling can be applied to the machining of various materials, including metallic and non-metallic materials. The following are some common Applied Materials:

Micro milling

1.Aluminum alloy: such as 6061 aluminum alloy, 7075 aluminum alloy, etc.

2.Copper materials: such as red copper, bronze, brass, etc.

3.Hard alloy: such as tungsten steel, hard alloy cutting tools, etc.,

4.Soft steel: such as low-carbon steel, stainless steel, etc.

5.Engineering plastics: such as polyamide, polyurethane, polycarbonate, etc.

Finish milling

1.Steel: such as carbon steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, etc.

2.Aluminum alloy: such as 6061 aluminum alloy, 7075 aluminum alloy, etc.

3.Titanium alloy: such as TC4 titanium alloy, etc

4.High temperature alloys: such as Inconel, cobalt based alloys, etc.

5.Composite materials: such as carbon fiber composite materials, glass fiber reinforced composite materials, etc.

The above materials are common and widely used in the manufacturing industry. Of course, the specific machining conditions and requirements will be determined based on the characteristics of the materials and the design of the workpiece.

For more detailed information on processed materials, please see this article【10 Kinds Of Commonly Used CNC Machining Materials

How to choose suitable tools for micro milling and fine milling

Choosing appropriate tools for micro milling and fine milling is the key to ensuring machining quality and efficiency. Here are some suggestions for selecting tools:

Selection of micro milling tools

1.Tool type: Commonly used micro milling tools include end mills, ball end mills, and flat milling cutters. Select the appropriate tool type based on specific machining requirements and shapes.

2.Tool material: Tungsten steel (hard alloy) is a commonly used micro milling tool material with good hardness and wear resistance. Select the appropriate tool material according to the hardness and characteristics of the machining material.

3.Tool size: Based on the size and shape of the workpiece, select the appropriate tool diameter, blade length, and number of blades to ensure that the tool can achieve the required machining accuracy and surface quality.

How to choose suitable tools for micro milling and fine milling

Selection of fine milling tools

1.Tool type: Fine milling usually uses end mills, flat milling cutters, ball end milling cutters, and boring milling cutters. Select appropriate tool types based on specific machining requirements and shapes.

2.Tool material: Commonly used fine milling tool materials include high-speed steel, hard alloy, and coated tools. Select appropriate tool materials based on machining materials and cutting requirements.

3.Tool size: Select the appropriate tool diameter, blade length, and number of blades based on the size and shape of the workpiece. Considering the smoothness and efficiency of the machined surface, choose the appropriate tool size.

Application of Micro Milling and Fine Milling

The following are the applicable application areas for micro milling and fine milling:

Application of micro milling

1.Small size parts machining : micro milling is applicable to fine machining and detail carving of small size parts, such as micro electronic components, micro Machine element, etc.

2.Electronic equipment manufacturing: Micro milling can be used to process small components such as shells, heat sinks, connectors, etc. of electronic equipment

3.Precision instrument manufacturing: Micro milling is often used to process high-precision parts in the fields of Optical instrument, precision instruments and medical devices.

4.Mold manufacturing: Micro milling can be used to manufacture small mold parts, such as mold cores, mold cavities, etc.

5.High precision parts machining : micro milling is applicable to parts machining with high precision requirements, such as touch screen parts, precision Machine element, etc.

Application of fine milling

1.Aerospace field: fine milling is used in the aerospace field to process high-precision metal components such as aircraft structural components and engine parts.

2.Automotive manufacturing: fine milling can be used to process high-precision automotive components such as engine parts, steering system parts, chassis parts, etc.

3.Mold manufacturing: fine milling is widely used to manufacture complex parts of molds, such as automobile molds, plastic Injection mold construction, etc.

4.High precision machining: fine milling is applicable to high-precision machining of precision Machine element, such as gears, threads, etc.

5.Optical manufacturing: fine milling is used to process high-precision optical components such as optical components, lenses, and mirrors.

conclusion

Through the above content, we have gained a deep understanding of the differences and application fields of these two technologies. No matter which part you need to manufacture, when choosing technology, you need to consider the importance of product shape, size, and accuracy.
If you need more information or have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will provide you with professional assistance and feedback.

fine parts machining services

Longsheng Technology: Providing fine parts machining services

After understanding the differences between micro milling and fine milling processes, when you want to obtain reliable CNC parts manufacturing partners. In this situation, Longsheng Technology is your best choice for CNC machining services

Our machining workshop is equipped with 4-axis and 5-axis CNC milling machines, and our production capacity is very strong, which can meet the production needs of different scales, from single parts to mass production, all of which can meet the needs of customers.

Upload your design file on our form page and you will receive a quote for the parts within 24 hours. We also provide free DFM analysis to ensure the manufacturability of your components. All of these are offered at competitive prices. Upload your CAD file now, let’s get started!

FAQ

What is micro milling and fine milling?

Micromilling and fine milling are two popular methods of CNC machining, both of which create shape by cutting material out of the workpiece. Micro milling generally refers to milling parts with a size in the micron level, while fine milling usually refers to milling parts with a size below 50 microns, and can even reach 0.1 microns.

How do I choose a process for my project?

The machining process you choose depends on your application and the specific requirements of your product. If you need to process small and complex precision parts, then micro milling is your first choice. If you need to process larger parts and require high precision and quality, then finish milling is the ideal choice for you. Regardless of the process, we recommend that you always refer to your expertise and experience when choosing tools, tools and materials.

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